25 Steps to PR Pitch Success

Man in Prince Philip mask shakes hands with a happy person

What does it take to get from pitch to shaking on it.

After 30 years in PR it seemed time to try and capture what makes a successful pitch. If you wanted to sum it up then Andy Turner of PR agency Six Sigma probably hits the nail on the head: ‘The magic ingredient? Insight blended with good ideas that really moves the needle, presented by likable people at an affordable price’.

Getting to this ideal is far from simple, so here are 25 top tips gleaned from three authoritative sources: PR Moment Some top tips on winning PR new business pitches; The Guardian Four tips for pitching a new client; and Management Today How to pitch for new business. Get a .doc copy of these 25 tips and the agency and prospect scorecard here: 25 Steps to PR Pitch Success.

Choose wisely

  1. Be picky and don’t pitch for business that is not a great fit for you or your company.

Really understand

  1. Go beyond the brief or request for information to truly understand the prospect’s agenda.
  2. Be clear on what the prospect expects in the pitch process and as a client.
  3. Build relationships and understanding by having several prospect discussions.

Follow the process

  1. Follow the process, don’t underestimate Procurement and take every stage seriously.
  2. Create a pitch team, ideally for start to finish, and allocate tasks and responsibilities.
  3. Make sure that your team is engaged, interested and passionate about the brief.

Proposal

  1. Really get to know the business with insight-driven research.
  2. Spend more time thinking and less time on look, layout, slides and rehearsing.
  3. Road test ideas with the client and target audience.
  4. Start with client’s issues problems or goals and how they will be solved or achieved.
  5. Tell a compelling story that ends with you solving these problems.
  6. Demonstrate clear progress from insights to strategy to ideas.
  7. Cut out anything that is half-baked and does not drive the story forward.

Presentation

  1. Design and deliver your pitch as theatre not just information.
  2. PowerPoint with care: Ask, ‘if you drive past the slide at 50 mph, will you understand it?’
  3. Lose the jargon and be seen as straightforward and sincere, with a no nonsense rhetoric.
  4. Appeal to instinctive emotional factors such as confidence, trust, hope and desire.
  5. Underpin emotional appeal with logical arguments to reassure client.
  6. Have at least two rehearsals in front of an audience, and remove/rework clunky bits.

Performance

  1. Research who will be in room, their real influence and dynamics between them.
  2. Get the human chemistry right because that is what gets you over the finish line.
  3. Do say ‘Are you sitting comfortably … then we’ll begin’ rather than ‘We have a 50 slide …’
  4. Show you ‘know your stuff’ and pitch yourself as equal who speaks the prospect’s language.
  5. Get the prospects talking; interaction is more engaging than being a passive audience.

What do you think? Tell me what I missed.

 

Online training: PR & Marketing

A small selection of online training courses for PR and marketing or you may prefer to check out what the world of MOOCs has to offer.

PRCA Online Training

The Public Relations Consultancy Association (PRCA) has a series of interactive 90 minute webinars on key topics. Delegates attend these sessions live online in a virtual version of a face-to-face training course. Cost is £95 for members and £120 for non members.

CIPR Webinars

The Chartered Institute for Public Relations’ new programme of live training webinars reflects the new challenges and issues facing PR professionals as a result of convergence with other related disciplines. They last one hour and are fully interactive and you can either participate in the live sessions or view them on demand. Free to members and £30 for non-members.

CAM

The Communications Advertising and Marketing (CAM) Education Foundation offers qualifications in digital and offline marketing communications which are awarded by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Typically this professional training and qualification takes about 15 months to complete.

For example, the CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications Lite (online version with no workshops) provided by Professional Academy costs about £2,207. This covers course provision £1698, CAM membership fee £144, and £365 to cover assessment of the five modules.  Included in this cost is all necessary study material, course text books, tutor support and online resources. Students will be supported for up to two years.

 

 

MOOCs for PR, marketing and …

One student who binged on his MOOC described it as being 'as good as Breaking Bad'.

One student who binged on his MOOC described it as being ‘as good as Breaking Bad’.

MOOCs are short, online university courses that provide a magnificent and cost-free means to sharpen skills or pursue a passion. They are changing the way we learn!

It makes sense to continue your professional development with high quality training but sometimes it is hard to find the time or money to do so. In that case you might like to check out what is on offer in the world of MOOCs (massive open online courses). They are open to anyone, the content is university level and they don’t cost a penny.

Compare that with online provision by the key professional associations. Short webinars from the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and the Public Relations Consultancy Association cost respectively £30 and £120. A CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications upwards of £2,200. Find out more: Online Training: PR & Marketing.

I have researched seven MOOCS (below) covering brands, marketing, digital analytics, research methods, story-telling, public speaking and negotiation. Some of them have imminent start dates, others you can do when ever you wish. Most have an option to be verified and gain a certificate. All of them should stimulate professional development.

So what is a MOOC?

MOOCs are university level short courses with a beginning and an end, delivered entirely online. They are open to anyone and they are free. The MOOC providers are not household names but the content creation and delivery comes from top universities worldwide and there are offerings in every subject area from sciences through to art and business.

I’ve taken half a dozen MOOCs on subjects ranging from song writing through to a history of soul beliefs. One of the joys is to be taught by great lecturers at some of the best universities in the world. My first and still best course was Buddhism & Modern Psychology at Princeton University – you can check that out on YouTube and below.

Done well, these courses can be very powerful. Typically they consist of lectures broken down into digestible chunks, which you can view when you want. There’s links to associated reading and viewing, quizzes to embed learning, discussion forums, and often a twitter feed and Facebook page to engage with other students. And you can do the work on any device – laptop or smart phone.

The content tends to be carefully constructed to get information across in a clear and engaging manner. And there is an interesting way of marking whereby you submit your work for peer review and in return mark four papers from your fellow students. Its really interesting to see other peoples’ work and marking it reinforces your own learning.

The downsides are minimal. One of my course provided interesting content but was just a selection of lectures posted on line. And you don’t have the same personal interaction with fellow students nor the live performance by a good lecturer; it’s more TV than theatre but still a lot more interesting than book study and knowledge spreads life wildfire.

MOOCs for PR & Marketing

Coursera Home PageCheck out some of the key MOOC providers and see what you can find to tickle your intellectual taste buds. This article The Best MOOC Provider: A Review of Coursera, Udacity and Edx is helpful  and you can search across all providers on MOOC List.

And now, here are seven MOOCs that may give you an edge in your professional life.

The Secret Power of Brands

What does your brand stand for? Understand the role of brands and brand management with a course based on the University of East Anglia and design agency Wolff Olins’ joint MSc in Brand Leadership. Starts June 1 for 6 weeks x 3 hours per week. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/the-secret-power-of-brands

Storytelling for Change

Develop practical skills as a storyteller, using the elements of story to bring you closer to your audience. Acumen and The Ariel Group: From May 8 – June 26, 3-4 hours per week.  https://novoed.com/storytelling-change

Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Marketing Analytics in Theory

Learn the introductory theory and strategy behind marketing analytics. The brands, companies, and marketers who are going to be successful are those that know where the data is and what to do with it. University of Illinois: Starts May 25, 4 weeks x 10 hours per week. https://www.coursera.org/course/dmanalyticstheory

Solid Science: Research Methods

Does your thought-leadership have integrity? The course is comparable to a university level introductory course on quantitative research methods in the social sciences, but has a strong focus on research integrity. University of Amsterdam: Starts August 31, 6 weeks x 4-8 hours per week. https://www.coursera.org/course/solidsciencemethods

Introduction to Public Speaking

Get accustomed to public speaking with a programme that lets you examine speeches through interactive practice; work through the unique traits of oral versus written communication; and prepare speeches that are easier to deliver and understand. University of Washington: Free and always open, 18 hours videos, quizzes, and peer assessments. https://www.coursera.org/learn/public-speaking

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

Course notes report that a student who binge watched this course said it was as good as Breaking Bad. Covers four steps to a successful negotiation: Plan Your Negotiation Strategy; Use Key Tactics for Success; Create a Contract; The End Game. University of Michigan: Free and always open 8.5 hours of videos https://www.coursera.org/learn/negotiation-skills

Introduction to Marketing

Covers branding strategies, customer-centric marketing strategy, and new market entry using a combination of lecture videos, quizzes and discussion. Wharton, University of Pennsylvania: On demand, 6 hours per week for 4 weeks. https://www.coursera.org/course/whartonmarketing

SEO: London Bloggers’ Meetup

 Extended platform on corner of building

In search of the cutting edge.

Another great evening of insight with the London Bloggers Meetup on 11th September 2014. My key takeaway was that if you really focus on developing and publishing uniquely insightful content on a blog that is well built and loads quickly then you are getting the most important bit SEO right. But check out my notes to see if you agree.

SEO doesn’t matter … except

Yiannis Pelakanos of Klaxon said SEO doesn’t matter. That’s because all that Google (Bing and Yahoo) are interested in is ‘shared users’. Some 95% of Google’s $50 billion revenue in 2013 came from adverts.

What really matters is the speed at which your blog loads and the user experience. If you take more than 4 seconds to load you lose about 45% of your visitors. And if you attract the wrong audience and they leave your website unsatisfied then you will have a problem with pogo-sticking! If it happens a lot then your ranking drops.

The only way to get to grips with user experience is by using Google Analytics. Measure and analyse traffic to your blog and see what bounces and what sticks. You need to understand your audience and how well you connect with them; a bounce rate less than 60% and you are doing quite well.

According to Yiannis, links used to matter but in the last year there has been a shift towards ‘authority’ and ‘trust’.  Today it is all about the quality and authority of your content. You rank higher if your content is good and the BBC, universities and government links to it. Check out Yiannis’ post on the Three Cs of SEO.

No magic … just engagement

Charlotte Gunnell from Metro.co.uk said that bloggers are an asset to the Metro and to journalists. Her top tip for improving SEO was to think about users and how to engage them and ranking will follow, ‘no magic’!   Links are not dead but they have to be good to enhance SE rankings.

The more people that bloggers reach (and then link back to the blog), the more ‘visited’ it will become. Best advice: think long term, enjoy yourself (because it can be a bit of a slog) and really know your stuff because that is why users visit, recommend and return to blogs.

Charlotte suggested that ‘everything comes from your obsession’. Always have something to say (more content = authority = ranking) and become a real specialist: ‘go niche and then the niche of the niche’ to find something where you are the undisputed master.

Have conversations and generate comments. Be passionate and make people agree or disagree. ‘Don’t be afraid of negative feedback’. Engage with your community because it translates into shares, and follow up with contacts and people following with a view to guest posts.

Getting the exposure of the bigger sights can give your blog the authority you are looking for. Some tips: be newsworthy, produce fantastic headlines, be polite, roll with the punches, and don’t be afraid to go into detail.

Here’s some useful links Charlotte shared:

www.topsy.com: Search all the tweets since 2006. Topsy makes products to search, analyse and draw insights from conversations and trends on the public social websites.

www.keywordtool.io: Keyword Tool is a free online keyword research instrument that uses Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords.

www.moz.com: Good blog on search engine optimization.

SE Roundtable: Authoritative place for latest on Google and SEO … pretty technical.

Kate Toon is a writer, copy writer and SEO guru. This is her personal blog www.katetoon.com/ and this is the office www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/

Search Engine Land for the latest on SEO trends

Good questions deserve chocolate

Judith Lewis of SEO Chicks and decabitt stressed the importance of blog architecture, content, and popularity/links in enhancing blog rankings. Links of course depend on where they come from. Title tags are less important but still significant.

Sadly, early on in Judith’s talk the mention of exquisite chocolate bars for those that asked good questions seems to have triggered a migraine with the results that within a few minutes I was no longer able to see the screen or my paper and had to pack up and leave.

The last I heard was ‘2 key words per page’, and ‘2 pages per key word’. If I remember correctly the point was not to overburden one page with too many key words and not to repeat the same key word on all pages. It’s not helpful when you, the user, or Google wants to find something.

Notes on Making Music, Making Money

20140312_184519_1

Making Music, Making Money was a panel session and live showcase at the Getty Images Gallery in London’s West End. All part of the Performing Rights Society centenary celebrations which included a special photography exhibition celebrating 100 years of great music.

Ruth Simmons, managing director of  independent music-synching consultancy The Sound Lounge, got proceedings underway with a presentation called ‘So you want to sell your music to advertisers’. This provided a snappy introduction to the art of ‘synch licensing’, technical slang for licensing music for advertising or other visual media.

First she asked members of the audience to raise a hand if they had purchased an album this year. Not many did! “And how much does a ticket to Reading cost … £200!” Then she highlighted some of reasons why it is so difficult to make money in music these days.

  • You don’t sell albums any more
  • Downloads are declining
  • Streaming is winning
  • ‘You will be 180 years old before you see any revenues from Spotify’
  • Playlists for free
  • Production for peanuts
  • Give publishing as a gift

And then she pointed out that why there are opportunities to make money from advertising. Brands want personality, values and principles and music can deliver this like no other media. She gave five good reasons to use music

  1. It grabs you like nothing else
  2. It’s a universal language
  3. Soundtrack of your life
  4. Engages your body
  5. Connects with the heart beat

She took a trip down memory lane, back to the 1970s when jingles were ‘the bottom end of the advertising world’ but still extremely powerful. Some of the big successes were Shake n Vac, Fairy Liquid, and Mars. Artist earned royalties on repeats and in the case of Mars, this was enough to retire on.

Everything changed in the 1980s with the success of the Levis 501 ad featuring a young man in a launderette undressing to the sound of ‘I heard it through the grapevine’. Not only did the ad sell jeans, it also took the song back to No.1 in the charts … and it wasn’t even the original version but a sound-alike.

This convinced many in the business that a new era, and associated revenue stream, had arrived. Other advertisers copied the approach but often failed to deliver the same kind of creative values.  They scrimped on budgets and the music licensing opportunities turned out to be far less lucrative.

It seems that music has always been the poor relation. A recent study by leading brand agency Millward Brown found that in a typical advert, impact was fairly evenly split between the visuals – 58% – and sound – 41%.  Sadly, relative parity did not carry over into productions budget: 84% for visuals and just 12% for sound.

Ruth thought this might be because advertising ‘creatives’ tend to have a visual background. Even so her message was that opportunities for music in advertising were growing but composers needed to learn the art of negotiation if they were to make the most of them. She provided five tips on a theme of ‘What’s in it for me?’

  1. Find out what is in the budget for music? Talk to your peers and then negotiate.
  2. Ask what else can the brand give if not money, what is guaranteed media and what happens if there is no PRS cheque?
  3. Ensure track title and artist are credited on the brand site and YouTube. Make sure the music is available for download and link back to your site. And get it in writing.
  4. If they can’t give you any of the above ask yourself if it is worth it. And if it is and you do go ahead, make sure you have enough time to optimise the association and align your marketing plans.
  5. And if none of these boxes are ticked, ask again, ‘What’s in it for me?’

Ruth provided an engaging and useful insight into this part of the business. At one point in her presentation she replayed the Levis ad without the music. More than anything else this demonstrated the magic that musicians bring to the world of advertising, and it is a magic that they need to sell more effectively.

Check out more from the The Sound Lounge on the blog and juke box. Also worth exploring is the Millward Brown website which has lots of industry research and intelligent stuff around branding and the music industry.

Panel session

The second session provided a mixed bag of top tips and anecdotes from a panel comprised of PRS experts, a music lawyer, manager, music label; half of them musicians in their own right.

  • James Endeacott – Manager & A&R
  • Pete Bott – Media Lawyer
  • Kat Kennedy – Manager & A&R
  • Alex Sharman – PRS for Music
  • Andy Ellis – PRS for Music

On the legal front, the top tip for early on was don’t let the legal stuff interrupt music but if it is a band sort out legal issues early on particularly share of profits and liabilities. Make sure you copyright the work. And it is may be worth getting in touch with a media lawyer for an exploratory. There’s a chance that he or she may provide some free advice on the basis that you may come back when there is some money in the bank.

When it comes to pitching your work to the business, how do you make your introductions? The advice from a former tour manager for the Strokes was don’t overdo it. “Make your work and you a bit mysterious and exciting.” The best he had received was a CD with one very good song and an email address. “It’s all about the tune!”

There was agreement that even in this day and age there was a still a good case to be made for a deal with a record label and having management. But musicians still need to do stuff themselves so they understand how the business works. “You can’t get away with just making a record”.

Typically musicians should be looking to build their online profile using facebook and other social media. And make the most of any opportunities to showcase your work. For example by submitting work to BBC Introducing which has broken a few artists in its time. There’s some additional thoughts and ideas on this in an earlier post called Rough Notes on Music and Social Media.

People and links

As well a formal presentations, there is much to be learnt from the people you meet at such events.

Folk musician Glen Hodge recommended the open mic at the Betsy Trotwood in Clerkenwell and explained how he has begun to make some money by organizing his own evenings.

Elliott Jett told how he had put his IT entrepreneurial ambitions on hold to explore the opportunities in his first great love, music. We got talking about the importance of the name and how the switch from Elliot G to Elliott Jett had eliminated some gangsta confusion.

Another who was working hard to bring a new brand to market, was SmithLDN. Great combination of the most common English surname with the abbreviation for London to create a brand name that looks like it could travel worldwide.

PRS Centenary Photography Exhibition at Getty Images Gallery in London

PRS Centenary Photography Exhibition at Getty Images Gallery in London

Part 2. Tender Loving Process

We are all pictures at a #saatchi exhibition.

More than anything, tendering is a process. You see the opportunity, assess your chances, and then you have to come up with a seductive pitch that can take you from that first date, right through to the altar and a certificate of marriage. And the grand seduction must be undertaken alongside the day job. No small challenge!

Happily there are some good guides around, and none more so than the clear and insightful Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland. This forms the basis of this quick overview of key stages.

The dating game!

OK, the opportunity has been identified. Now you need to start preparations.

  • Download and store tender information
  • Inform core bid team and circulate documents
  • Read and assess opportunity

 To court or not to court?

This is the big question: Putting together a successful bid is a time-consuming and ultimately expensive. Make sure that it is right for you by reviewing these key factors.

  • Mandatory requirements
  • Relevant experience
  • Competition
  • Right size for us
  • Profit potential
  • Resources to respond professionally

Planning the seduction

So you have decided that it is worth pitching so now you need to put together a team.

  • Manager
  • Technical experts
  • Writers
  • Contributors
  • Administrators
  • Proof reader
  • Fault finder

Hold a kick-off meeting

  • Distribute documents in advance
  • Brainstorm the solution
  • Identify required resources
  • Allocate roles and responsibilities
  • Agree a proposal schedule
  • Outputs
    • Document strategy points to include
    • Identify questions to feedback to Buyer
    • Update ‘Why us’ details
  • Develop the plan
    • Summary of submissions terms
    • Finalise bid team and timetable
    • Mandatory requirements list
    • Evaluation criteria
    • Winning strategies

Sweet words

Aim for a simple and professional document which delivers only what the buyer asks for in a consistent writing style, professionally formatted and presented. Make sure that you follow the exact structure and requirements outlined in the Tender. Build in review cycle and sign-off to the production process.

This is the typical format of a tender document.

  • Executive summary
  • Contents
  • Introduction – format and purpose of tender document + contact details
  • Understanding requirements
  • Approach / solution
  • Pricing

Other information

  • Company introduction
  • Case studies and references
  • Staff CVs
  • Added value
  • Alternative offers
  • Examples
  • Standards and policies

Making your move

Today it is quite likely that your bid will be made electronically but in most cases the buyer will also want hard copies.

Hard copies

  • Safely stored and backed up files
  • Printers are working and sufficient stock of paper and ink
  • Delivery instructions including numbers of copies
  • Reliable delivery service

Soft copies

  • Make sure you know how to use system
  • Check any word and file size limitations
  • As larger documents take longer to load, start with them
  • Save, save and save again
  • Tender portals tend to time out after 15 minutes so hit save as soon as completed
  • Check that everything has uploaded successfully
  • Save a copy of your submission

The morning after

  • Tender evaluation
  • Internal debrief before award

 Meeting the parents

  • Leader
    • Develop structure
    • Co-ordinate content
    • Individual contributions
    • Organise rehearsals
    • Manage logistics
    • Introduce the team
    • Identify one person to play Buyer during rehearsals
  • Considerations
    • Precise as per executive summary
    • Do not cut and paste from document – use bullets
    • Expand on ideas but don’t add new ones
    • Allow time for questions
    • Presentation should be by the delivery team
    • Prepare a good final statement
    • Provide printed copy as takeaway

More information on Tenders

In Part 1. Tender Tips for a Smooth Bid we take stock of the challenges involved in creating a successful tender.

In Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice the focus is on the lessons learnt while working on a major tender with the team at leading food and beverage PR agency, William Murray, plus some links to other useful resources.

Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice

Meeting with remarkable spacemen at Saatchi's

In Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice the focus is on the lessons learnt while working on a major tender with the team at leading food and beverage PR agency, William Murray, plus some links to other useful resources.

Style guide: every organization needs a Style Guide so that it written work conveys a consistently professional image to the outside world. Before soliciting content for your Tender document decide how you want it written. Read The Economist Style Guide for guidance.

Forms of address: use capital letters for Names, Titles, Teams and Headlines; use upper and lower case for subheads and after colons; single inverted commas for quotes and ‘special words’ and double inverted commas for speech, “I say I say”. And no full stop on short bullets

Mind your language: eliminate ‘that’ where possible and don’t use ‘&’; cut out superfluous words like ‘therefore’ and ‘in order to’ ; and use simple words like ‘use’ instead of ‘utilise’ and ‘with’ instead of ‘in conjunction with’

Designs on you: the design and print process needs to be fully understood. Have a schedule and process and share with stakeholders. Team leaders should ensure regular update meetings and that everyone sticks to the timetable to avoid extra expense in terms of time and money.

Make it easy: try and standardize on a format – all copy in Microsoft Word and images JPEG – and avoid adding other formats such as Excel which is not design friendly. If possible use portrait format as opposed to landscape. And avoid double-sided pages – they may not be so easy to read and create difficulties if pages need to change

100% Proof: make sure that you do all your editing and changing before supplying copy to the designer. For proofing, collate all changes and mark-up complete document. Ideally you should Adobe X  Pro which enables you to mark up corrections on PDFs http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/acrobatpro.html

Beware numbers: if you need to refer to another part of the document or a schematic / appendices, DON’T use page numbers but simply give the name of the section. For example ‘See 5.1 Logistics’.  This way you avoid problems with page numbers changing when new copy or pictures are added.

Box pretty: check early on that your email system does not have a limit on the size of files that it will accept or that it is putting team emails into a hidden junk folder. If there are problems consider using an online service like  https://www.dropbox.com/business/

File disciplines: agree a standard format for naming and filing documents with time and date, which allows you to keep track of the latest version. For example if you are writing the 1.0 Executive Summary for BuyerCo tender you might call it: Buyerco.1.0 Exec Summary 1350 20Oct.

Follow the leader: ensure Bid Team Leader has absolute authority and the full support of the management team. Stakeholders within the organization need to be fully briefed on the nature of the tender, timelines, stage gates, and their responsibilities in supporting the bid.

Useful links

Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland. 

10 Top Tender Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

Ten Lovely Tips for Producing Great Tenders

Dropbox

Adobe Acrobat X Pro

Read on

In Part 1. Tender Tips for a Smooth Bid we take stock of the challenges involved in creating a successful tender.

In Part 2. Tender Loving Process there is an overview of the theory and process based on Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland.

 

Part 1. Tender Tips for a Smooth Bid

http://youtu.be/76We6yBnIKE

Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go!

Anyone who has put a tender together will tell you the opposite is true … except for ‘never let me go’. Marshaling a good team, gathering the right information, and packaging it into a compelling proposition in a timely manner is very challenging. But it need not be a complete nightmare. These tips will get you closer to the place where ‘happiness will follow you, everywhere you go’.

In Part 2. Tender Loving Process there is an overview of the theory and process based on Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland.

In Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice the focus is on the lessons learnt while working on a major tender with William Murray, the UK’s leading food, drink and hospitality PR agency. It includes links to other useful resources.

Many tender documents suffer from obesity as a result of easy access to cut, paste and scan. So in addition to your work meeting the technical requirements of the tender, consider the creation of a trim executive summary that captures all of the salient points and delivers them in a seductive manner.

These tips should help you put together a smooth bid but there is no guarantee that ‘all your dreams are fulfilled. And if there are moments when the path of true love is rocky, take a few minutes to be inspired by Elvis. He managed to say all that mattered in well under 3 minutes.

Mind map of Brand Anarchy – Managing Corporate Reputation

Brand Anarchy – Managing Corporate Reputation provides a very good overview of the issues and opportunities that the Internet has created for corporate PR. If you are still doing the traditional stuff and tip-toeing around blogs, twitter, facebook and the rest, you need to bite the bullet and get up to speed with the new world.

This Brand Anarchy Mind Map may be useful as an aide memoire .  You will need to enlarge from A4 to A3 or use a magnifying glass to read it. You can also listen to this interview with Steve Waddington, one of the authors.

London Bloggers Tech Update

Speakers at London Bloggers Tech Edition

Speakers at the London Bloggers Tech Edition, from left to right: Andy Bargery (host and event organiser), John Read (Sesquey), Judith Lewis (Search Engine Chicks), Matt Russell (WebHostingBuzz) and Yiannis Pelekanos (freelance developer and guru).

This month’s London Bloggers Meetup was all about the technology behind blogging. Over the course of a fun-filled 90 minutes, discussions and insights touched on the relative merits of various blogging platforms (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Joomla); optimisation tricks for WordPress; how to find a good hosting solution; SEO (search engine optimisation) basics; plugin options, and much more.

Alan Reynolds , corporate photographer and blogger.

It’s not just about the presenters: I sat next to Alan Tucker, corporate photographer and blogger, and he introduced me to the Galaxy Note, History Pins, and the AMPt community. Thank you Alan!

But before the talks there is much to learn from the person sitting next to you. Alan Tucker (http://www.atphoto.biz) introduced me to the wonders of the Galaxy Note camera with its lovely HD screen and easy to use photo-editing software. He pointed me in the direction of the AMPt Community where mobile photographers, artists and videographers can share work. And there was History Pin at http://www.historypin.com, a global community collaborating around history pins of old pictures to their location so that you can begin to see how an area has changed over the years. I checked out  Tooting Bec Lido in South London and lo and behold a picture of the diving boards from 1906. Thank you Alan.

Notes from the London Bloggers Tech Update

And so to some slightly random notes from the evenings speakers.

John Read from Sesquey.com – WordPress ninja and trainer

Top tips before the Q&A were make sure you update your WordPress site to the latest 3.5.2 version to ensure that it is secure. New WordPress features that are worth checking out included: multiauthor blogging; new posting format like tumblr; easy to use importing to WordPress. John also recommended the 13-14 July WordCamp for those with a WordPress site.

Judith Lewis from SEO Chicks – a chocolate loving SEO guru

Judith’s stream of no bullshit tips for optimising your blog included:

  • Key words are vital … (don’t forget to use the one or two words that actually describe what you are talking about … some people do!)
  • Never forget that links will improve your Google rating
  • Don’t spam
  • Write well and don’t steal work from other sites because Google sees most things and it will downgrade you if it suspects malpractice
  • Use Yoast SEO for WordPress analytics
  • Move from Blogger to WordPress
  • Ignore SEO blogs and just go back to the fundamentals of search optimisation by reading SEO.book com
  • Google+ is important for your blog authorship. WordPress is now integrated with Google+
  • In terms of authorship, Google gives this to the site where the article first appears. This can raise the ranking of that site and if duplicated in another site, lower its rating.
  • Copy can be overoptimised; focus on titles and content but not so much on anchor text.
  • Top tip: put citations next to URLS.
  • Comments on your blog are good for people but worthless in terms of SEO. Not a lot of people know that!

In an effort to push back the tide of Googlism, she also suggested a couple of alternative search engines:

  • Yandex.com is the leading internet company in Russia, operating the most popular search engine and the most visited website.
  • Duck Duck Go: https://duckduckgo.com/ describes itself as a search engine that does not track you and, has more instant answers and less spam/clutter.

Matt Russell from WebHostingBuzz – hosting expert

Matt gave some great advice on web hosting and also treated us to beer so a big thank you goes out to him and his company. Matt reiterated the importance of keeping WordPress up to date to avoid it being hacked. His other tips for choosing and using a hosting service were to find a provider that provided fast support.

He recommended CloudFlare to load-balance your traffic and provide extra safety.Other recommendations to do the same job were Incapsula and Modsecurity. And remember to back-up your website regularly.

Yiannis Pelekanos – freelance  web developer and tech extraordinaire

Looking at the options for blogging, the advice was tumblr for someone who wants to keep it simple and WordPress for someone with a bit more techie know-how and patience.

Joomla versus WordPress: Joomla has a good content management system but is not widely used. Very good for levels of granularity in managing multi-authoring but WordPress gets the vote because with 40 million users you can for the most part put a question into Google and someone out there will have an answer.

Another platform that got a mention was Ghost. According to John Read, ‘ this is a proposed alternative of WordPress with the mission to redefine blogging software.’ You can see more info here: http://www.kickstarte…

Assorted tips

Other topics covered included ‘domain mapping’. The favoured providers were Low Cost NamesNameCheap and Hover. Arvid Lind from Buzzkeep  reckons that GoDaddy provides better long-term savings especially on ‘.coms’. Chocablog was mentioned as an example of how to do the right stuff on Facebook.